One Cross Makes All the Difference
Whether you're reading this before or after Thursday 6th May could well determine if you agree with that statement or not. Voting in a general election is our opportunity to have a say about who represents us in the halls of Westminster. Although we may sometimes feel that our vote doesn't really count, I hope that the turnout is high, and that most people have made the effort to go into the polling booths to put a cross on the ballot paper. I'm confident, however, that regardless of who resides in 10 Downing Street, the real problems that we face will continue to challenge us. I'm not talking about global injustice or climate change (which are real issues that do need tackling) - but something even more fundamental.
The story goes that The Times once asked readers the question "What's wrong with the world today?" and amongst the answers they received was this short and simple response. "Dear Sir," the letter went, "I am. Yours, G.K. Chesterton" . In these few witty words the famous Christian writer has, with humility, managed to get to the root of the problem - it's me, and (dare I suggest it) you. We like to put the blame elsewhere - like on MPs who are over exuberant in their claiming of expenses - but as I heard many a radio phone-in contributor admit, many of us would probably have done the same thing given the opportunity!
The recently departed Michael Jackson summed it up nicely in his pop song "Man in the Mirror" with the words: "If you wanna make the world a better place... take a look at yourself, and then make a change" . Perhaps he was quoting Ghandi who said something similar: "You must be the change you want to see in the world" . I wish it was as easy as that - I'm sorry to say, along with the apostle Paul, that "what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing" (Romans 7:19).
The fact is, whoever we vote into office is going to be human - which means, like me and you, they are going to be fallible, and liable to failure. But that's where one cross really does make all the difference! The story of Good Friday and Easter, which we celebrated last month, is all about the power of God overcoming all that is messed up in our world. On the cross Jesus offers each one of forgiveness for the things we've done wrong, and in his resurrection He makes the power of a living God available to all who seek to follow him. I know the problems around me, and within me, are much too big for me to tackle by myself, but with God's help, perhaps in a small way I can be a part of changing the world for the better.